My son has been drinking green smoothies since he was four and he really loves them (although he sometimes complains that I give them to him all the time, LOL).
However, your children (and quite possibly your adult family members too) may be resistant to the idea to trying smoothie recipes with any green ingredients added. If that’s the situation, don’t despair!
In my experience, green fruit smoothie recipes for kids are always a success!
But, yes, you may need to use some tricks to encourage their consumption initially.
Let’s face it. Unhealthy foods are everywhere. Children are assaulted by less-than-ideal food choices wherever they go: birthday parties, convenience stores, street vendors, fast food joints, etc. Sodas, cakes, cookies, pizzas, fries, hot dogs, candy, ice cream. There is no escaping them. Not even school cafeterias are free from them. No wonder their taste buds get used to very sweet-salty-fatty foods.
The scary statistics is that 40% of the calories US children eat are nutritionally empty!
Getting children to eat healthy, balanced meals is a concern that MANY parents have. They are especially concerned about the lack of fruits and vegetables their kids are eating and it is no wonder… modern convenience foods marketed to kids are lacking in nutritional value. As a result children are not developing tastes or cravings for the nutritional powerhouse foods they need, namely fresh vegetables, fruits and leafy greens, as well as healthy whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
The great thing about green smoothies is that they disguise what might otherwise be considered unwelcome ingredients, including healthy leafy greens that may be eaten rarely or avoided completely.
With green smoothies, healthy nutrition is easy. With a few simple smoothie recipes, you can easily turn your blender into a tool for creating super-healthy fruit smoothie recipes for kids!
How to Get Your Kids to Love Green Smoothies?
Most kids and adults love these smoothies from the first sip and may never know they are drinking their vegetables unless you choose to tell them!
However, if you can’t get your kids to eat spinach or kale in their dinner salad (that is, if they even eat any salad at all), you will probably be doubtful whether you’ll be able to convince them to have a green smoothie – or any drink that has even a hint of green (except maybe a green Gatorade).
So, here is a motivational technique to get your kids (and yourself) to eat a lot of greens.
If your child refuses to drink green smoothies, start by making smoothies that don’t look green at all.
Start with preparing mostly sweet smoothies with lots of fruits or natural sweeteners. Children naturally love sweet taste of ripe fruit.
Then start incorporating celery in green smoothies. Celery hardly changes the color or taste of the smoothie and would be a great way to get children to start eating more of this nutrient-rich vegetable.
Start with a half or even a quarter stalk of celery. This is getting your food in the door. Your child may be suspicious about what is exactly in the smoothie, so don’t even tell him/her or let them see what is inside the blender.
Even if they don’t love it, they will not hate it either.
Once your child gets used to the celery, start adding small – and hard to detect – quantities of other greens.
Adding other color-changing ingredients, such as blueberries, will also help mask the green color that some children may find problematic.
With time, everyone in your home should get used to the taste, and even prefer it over the no-veggie version, which may start to seem too sweet and lack certain tartness. Our taste buds are really quite adaptable!
The key is to make the change gradually. Human taste buds are highly adaptable little organs, and you can reprogram them gradually. The taste buds aren’t sensitive enough to notice an addition of a small amount of new ingredients and reducing sugar. Over time, they’ll learn to enjoy the true flavor of fresh, healthy food and the lovely tastes that fresh vegetables, greens and fruits have to offer.
The good news is that taste buds adapt very quickly and within two-three weeks your child should be really enjoying more green smoothies.
More Tips to Make Sure Your Kids Drink Their Green Smoothies
Here are a few more tips to help you to get you started if you have picky eaters in your house:
* Start with preparing mostly sweet smoothies with lots of fruits. Add only a little bit of mild tasting greens (starting with celery or spinach). You may also add natural sweeteners, if you feel the smoothie is not sweet enough for your child.
* Use sweet, ripe fruits that your child loves. For example, strawberry, pineapple and blueberry are all time favorites.
* Use well ripened bananas for creamy texture.
* Think how to make the smoothie making and drinking fun. One way that may work well for younger kids, is to come up with a cool name for your smoothies. Some ideas are: Bey-blade Blaster, Enter the Dragon, Shrek’s Favorite Smoothie, Cinderella’s Cocktail, Transformer’s Fuel, or other, depending on what your child’s favorite’s characters are at the moment.
* Use a pretty glass with a straw and a cocktail drink umbrella.
* Or use a non-transparent cup with a straw to completely mask the color of the drink.
* Ask your child to drink green smoothies before the child eats other things. My son drinks a green smoothie first thing in the morning, before he eats anything else. He usually gets another glass 1 hour to 30 minutes before dinner.
* Educate your children about the benefits of drinking green smoothies. Explain it to them in simple terms. You may be surprised how eager they are to learn.
* Freeze green smoothie into a Popsicle.
* If nothing else is working, consider a reward system. Although, I am not in favor of reward systems, especially when it comes to food, however, if your child is highly defiant, and all other methods have failed, you may find that using some kind of incentive is effective. Just, please don’t use junk food as treats for reinforcing good eating habits!
For best results, it’s important invest in a quality blender. The reason being you really want a your green to be as smooth as it can be, and not all blenders will be able to handle the job of blending, e.g. kale or collard greens, to perfection.
Most likely, your child will refuse to drink anything with touch pieces of kale or celery stalk. Read my review best smoothie blenders and comparison of Blendtec vs Vitamix. Both are excellent blenders for making green smoothies.
Also, although I recommend that you start with spinach in smoothies, add different greens as well. It’s important to rotate your greens, and not use the same ones all the time.
Delicious Smoothie Recipes for Kids (& Adults too!)
How about a healthy strawberry pineapple smoothie recipe to start off with?
The tangy taste of pineapple adds a wonderful flavor to smoothies. If you learn how to pick a pineapple that is ripe, you will also get a sweet-tasting smoothie. Cutting a pineapple ahead of time and storing the slices in an airtight container in the fridge will save time when making the smoothie. Canned pineapple often comes with added sugar or preservatives, so using it may not be such a good idea if your focus is on healthy nutrition.
Sweeteners. My 8-year-old finds fruit smoothies pretty sweet on their own, so I never add sweeteners, but he’s been drinking smoothies since he was four. If you are just trying to convert your kids to drinking greens, you may want to sweeten their smoothies a bit. Experiment with adding agave syrup, maple syrup, a few dried figs, or any sweetener that your child will like.
Ice. Many smoothie recipes call for ice cubes. Personally, I’m not a fan of adding ice cubes to smoothies, except in the summer. So even if I use frozen fruits, like I often do (for example, I often use mixed berries in smoothies), I usually add warm water. In my opinion, drinking a cold smoothie is not great for our body and digestion. However, many people will not drink a smoothie unless it’s ice cold.
Also, feel free to experiment and mix and match the ingredients! Have fun!
How to Make Smoothies That Are More Filling
Although many adults (and sadly, many children as well) are drinking green smoothies to help them lose weight, my son is very tall and thin, so I try various ways to add more calories to his meals.
I often add nuts, seeds and/or quick oats to smoothies to make them more filling. My son is at the age when he is growing very quickly and burning lots of calories, so I want him to have adequate amount of nutrition during the day.
One of the recent favorites in my home is this Banana-almond nut smoothie – check it out!
Really, any smoothie recipe can be adjusted to be more filling and have more “staying power” by adding one of the following ingredients:
- Substitute part of water with non-dairy milk or yogurt: oat, rice, soy, almond, hemp, coconut water, or raw nut or seed milk. Experiment with various kinds of milk. Skip cow’s milk, and try one of the various non-dairy milks available today: almond milk, organic soy milk, hemp milk, rice milk, coconut milk, or other.
- Add avocado. In addition to healthy fats, it adds wonderful creaminess to smoothies.
- Add 1/4 cup nuts or seeds, such as walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, or ground flax seeds. Pre-soaking your seeds and nuts is recommended, but not required.
- Add 2-3 tablespoons of seed or nut butter. Almond, peanut, cashew butter, tahini, etc. Avocado, whole nuts and nut butters and milks will add some healthy fats to your smoothies. These fats to improve absorption of nutrients, as well as will slow down the release of the fruit sugar into your bloodstream. Don’t overdo it, use these ingredients sparingly.
- Add 1/4 cup up to 1 cup of whole grains: oats, cooked brown rice, quinoa or other whole grains. Oats don’t need to be cooked (I use the one-minute quick oats). Other grains will need to be prepared in advance. If you have leftover grains, even better!
Questions? Comments? Suggestions?
If you have a favorite recipe, why not submit it here in the comment section of this smoothie recipes blog for others to enjoy too!
I also welcome any comments, questions and suggestions. Thanks!